Israel confirms missile test

Defence ministry confirms joint exercise with US of anti-ballistic missile system in Mediterranean.

    Israel fired a missile in the Mediterranean to test a new defence system - but did not inform anyone beforehand.

    The Tuesday morning launch - a joint exercise with the United States - was first reported by Russia, which said  two "objects" following a ballistic trajectory had been fired from the Mediterranean.

    Israel's Defence Ministry later said that it, along with a team of United States military advisers, had carried out a test-launch of a Sparrow missile.

    The Sparrow, which simulates the long-range missiles of Syria and Iran, is used for target practice by Israel's US-backed anti-missile system, Arrow.

    The test comes as the West debates whether to launch military strikes against the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad following its alleged use of chemical weapons last month.

    "Israel routinely fires missiles or drones off its shores to test its own ballistic defence capabilities," a US official said in Washington.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the anti-missile system was a national "wall of iron". "These things give us the power to protect ourselves, and anyone who considers harming us would do best not to," he said in a speech.

    Arrow designer Uzi Rabin said tests of the anti-missile system are planned "long, long in advance" and generally go unnoticed. "What apparently made the difference today is the high state of tension over Syria and Russia's unusual vigilance," he told Reuters.

    Al Jazeera's Paul Brennan, reporting from Jerusalem on Tuesday, said it was "highly unusual that Israel should be involved in this joint exercise, as it could draw Israel into the conflict," he said.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.